Lust, Money & Murder is a series by Mike Wells. It is a fast-paced ride through the world of counterfeit goods production and the underbelly of the Secret Service, with a taste of the dangers surrounding high-profile government work.
The story opens with Elaine Brogan as a small child, being taken care of by her two parents in poor Pittsburgh. It progresses with her moving on to school, where a devastating event occurs that changes her outlook on life. After that, she is driven with a hunger for revenge—A hunger that fizzles to a dull ache while she searches for a place in this world.
The prose is well-written and flows easily. I found no mistakes, which is more rare than you would think in this day and age. Wells’ style is fun to read. I remember sitting in so many lectures where I would be told, again and again, that “showing, not telling” is an essential tool for hooking readers and immersing them in a story. At first, Wells is a little shaky with this, but as the books progress the action, and the feeling behind the action, is ratcheted up to something more than respectable. Without giving too much away, I will say there is a scene with a letter from the character, Nick, that is superb.
The title of the series is very clever—I love how he breaks it up to be the title of each book, and how each book rightly deserves said monikers.
I found the story to be very interesting and character-driven. It’s hard to get into a story where I am not invested in the characters, but I easily felt for Elaine from when she was a small child. She seems wide-open to the world, ready to make her mark. When she is duped by the “talent agency”, I was aggravated. When her father kills himself, I became frustrated—I often feel frustration when reading because of failings of the book, but this time it was genuinely plot-induced; I was impressed.
Overall, I enjoyed these books and I recommend them for action and mystery fans. While I would primarily characterize it as an action-oriented book, the drama and mystery of everything is what hooked me.
If you like or are interested in hearing more about the series and author, I will be interviewing him for Writing with Red later this week—So stay tuned!